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Ray Bassett said the UK’s departure has dragged the bloc’s annual GDP down by almost £3trillion – money which if added to the US total of just over £14.6trillion for 2020, according to the IMF’s website, plus Canada’s of £1.6trillion, comes in at £20.7trillion. In 2020, the entire GDP for the EU was just over £14.8trillion – but this would drop to less than £12trillion without the UK.
There is no contest
Mr Bassett, Ireland’s former ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and the Bahamas, and an advocate of a so-called Irexit modelled on Brexit, outlines the benefits of a trade bloc encompassing the UK, the US and Canada in his new book, Ireland and the EU Post Brexit.
Asked about the financial clout of such a body compared with the EU, Mr Bassett told Express.co.uk: “There is no contest.”
Sir David Frost would be well aware of such considerations, Mr Bassett said.
He added: “The prospect of an ‘Anglophone Alliance’ is always there in the background.
“Sometimes in negotiations it is better to leave it in the shadows and not to be too overt on the matter.
“It is up to Frost whether he needs to spell it out or just hint at it.”
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Looking beyond Brexit, Mr Bassett said: “Both the EU and UK will be separately discussing future trade arrangements.
“But the UK has much better political, security and historical connections with North America which should smooth the way to a deal.”
In his book, Mr Bassett suggests Ireland needs to be a member of such an alliance, warning it faces increasing marginalisation in a bloc in which it would be the only country which had English as its first language.
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He adds: “While US relations with the UK are likely to warm considerably in the next few years, the same cannot be said for EU-US relations, which have been under strain since President Trump was elected in the USA in 2016.
“Ireland has a huge interest in maintaining harmonious relations between Brussels and Washington.
“However, it is doubtful if Ireland’s interest will be a major consideration for the EU Commission and its relations with Washington.
“It will be primarily concerned with bigger ticket items, like German car exports and that country’s investment in the USA.”
With specific reference to the language question, he added: “In recent years and particularly so since the admission of post-communist European States, the English language has become dominant within the EU, paradoxically the lingua franca.
“However, in a post-Brexit EU with only five million native English speakers in the Republic of Ireland, the English language will no longer have as strong a case to be the dominant language of the institutions.”
In a series of tweets last week in advance of the start of talks, Mr Frost said: “Our assessment is that agreement can be reached in September and we will work to achieve this if we can.
“As we keep saying, we are not looking for a special or unique agreement.
“We want a deal with, at its core, an FTA like those the EU has agreed with other friendly countries, like Canada.
“The UK’s sovereignty, over our laws, our courts, or our fishing waters, is of course not up for discussion and we will not accept anything which compromises it – just as we aren’t looking for anything which threatens the integrity of the EU’s single market.”
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